Is Fundamental Causality a Network Phenomenon? Network Education and Individuals’ Health

Dustin Brown , Mississippi State University
Lucie Kalousova, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Education is a fundamental cause of health because it structures access to valuable economic and social resources that directly and indirectly influence health. The mechanisms that underlie this relationship have been primarily examined from an individualistic perspective to demonstrate how highly educated persons mobilize various resources to garner health advantages. Education is often conceptualized as an individual-level health resource, but it may also be inter-individual health resource within social relationships. Education, conceptualized as a network good, may have a positive influence on health over and above what we would anticipate based on our individual education alone. We will test this hypothesis with ego-centric network data from the U.S. General Social Survey by estimating a series of nested regression models predicting individuals’ self-rated health as a function of educational resources available within their social network. The proposed analyses will advance our understanding of education’s role as a fundamental cause of health.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1